Monday, 15 May 2017

Random thoughts 15052017

#OBOR One Belt One Road is a grand and audacious plan of connectivity being given shape by China . This program is being personally pushed by the present President of the Chinese Republic, Xi Jinping who would like to go down the history with a stature equivalent , if not superior to Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping. On one hand the plan seeks to revitalize the traditional silk route , both on land and the seas. On the other, it wants to change the global power structure and integrate Europe and Asia as a large trading zone .

The participation of more than 65 countries in the project is proof enough that quite a number of the countries in Europe and Asia look towards the OBOR as something which could benefit them economically. Russia and Turkey are both backers of this program and countries like Bangladesh, Nepal , Myanmar and Srilanka are participating in it. Pakistan , of course is one of the primary, if not the first stakeholder of the program. But India has expressed its apprehensions about the project and have decided not to join it, as of now.

Indians have been always wary of China since 1962. And the Indian foreign policy have always been shaped by a British understanding , American guidance (except during Indira Gandhi) and Pakistan obsession. Beyond that the Indian foreign policy does not really exist, at least for the people of the country. Our troubles with China began only after the Tibet issue as before that there was no history of wars between the countries , nations and very old civilisations. In fact Tibet was the buffer which allowed the status quo of peace between the two countries. May be the Tibet issue is keeping the Kashmir issue alive . But as it seems now, as long as the present Dalai Lama remains ( May God bless him), there is very little chance of the Tibet issue and the India -China relations improving.

But we must not overlook the Chinese initiative as if implemented, it will change the whole geo political alignment . President Putin of Russia has stated his support for the initiative unequivocally as - “Everything that is being proposed fits the trend of modern development, is extremely necessary, and is in high demand. Therefore, Russia not only supports the One Belt One Road project, but will actively participate in its realization together with our Chinese partners and, of course, with all other interested countries.” He further said that the project takes into account modern trends in the global economy while also reflecting the general need for coordinating integration processes not only on the Eurasian continent, but around the world.

Before this China has demonstrated its capability to execute programs which their leaders wanted to be implemented in a planned and if required ruthless manner, be it the cultural revolution, one child norm, liberalization of economy, Olympic Games or other developmental initiatives. And they are famous for doing everything in a magnificent manner with a huge canvas. This time too , they seem to be on a solid ground to take over the leadership as the economic power from USA. What that will lead to is a matter of speculation at this moment. But India should be wary of clinging to the US apron strings. The USA has never stood behind its allies at crunch situations and always exported war overseas to benefit its own industry.

So treating OBOR with disdain, suspicion or nonchalance will be a folly for India. There is no benefit in creating enmity with a powerful country and getting encircled by its satellites. As we are still debating over the viability of Bullet train or its infrastructure , China has already launched a freight train from the city of Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province with London, all of 12000 kms covered in 18 days. That is their level of planning and execution. Not that they do everything correctly . But they get things done once they plan something.

The article attached here may not be liked by many Indians . But it is necessary to know about the Chinese viewpoint , too.

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